Euro 7 rules to take hold this month

LOW BASE: Australia’s current minimum noxious emission standards are essentially based upon Euro 5 standards, meaning we have a lot of catching up to do.What is green?

FOLLOWING repeated delays, the European Commission is expected to announce the adoption of stricter new Euro 7 emissions regulations later this month.

The regulations will further limit vehicle tailpipe emissions with renewed focus on carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and fine particulate matter from cars and trucks.

The new legislation replaces existing Euro 6 standards set back in 2014.

Euro 7 standards are likely to be the last to define pollution parameters for the internal combustion engines sold in Europe, as the EU plans to allow only zero emissions vehicles to be sold from 2035.

The stricter new regulations are likely to come into force no earlier than 2025.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe (ANE), European Commission officials said the delays leading up to the adoption of Euro 7 emissions standards are related to the complexity in creating rules that cover passenger cars, motorcycles, and trucks concurrently; the need to consider stakeholder priorities; and the Fit for 55 rules requiring zero emissions vehicles by 2035 which were not anticipated when the Euro 7 process was initiated.

ANE reports that some manufacturers have questioned why the rules were needed, with some saying the cost and time required to engineer, test, and implement ICE units is largely irrelevant with Europe’s looming electrification deadline.

“We are not overly convinced of the benefits of Euro 7,” ACEA emissions and fuels director Paul Greening told ANE.

“The reality of investing in Euro 7 for a short return, in a very difficult business market at the moment, with many pressures on the industry, is becoming more complex.”

But European Commission team leader for vehicle emissions, Panagiota Dilara, said that Euro 7 is about much more than just passenger car emissions.

“It includes commercial trucks – which are unlikely to be all-electric by 2035 – as well as non-fuel emissions from vehicles such as brake dust and tyre particles,” she noted.

Further still, the health impact of reducing tailpipe and associated vehicular pollutants will extend a long way into the first, with many cars and trucks sold between now and the middle of the next decade likely to still be on the road well into the 2040s.

The European Environmental Agency said that significantly cleaner vehicles have the potential to save “thousands of lives”, adding that more than 300,000 deaths in the EU in 2019 were attributed to air pollution.

“We need to improve the overall performance of all the sectors that bear responsibility for emission levels, and certainly the road transport sector does bear part of that,” said the European Commission’s head of clean air and urban policy unit Francois Wakenhut.

“No more than its share, but it needs to be addressed.”

In Australia, noxious emissions from vehicle exhausts – including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and particulates – have been regulated since the early 1970s.

The standard set maximum limits for noxious emissions from vehicle exhausts for all new road vehicles supplied to Australia and have been progressively tightened over the past 40 years.

However, Australia’s current minimum noxious emission standard for new light vehicles (ADR 79/04) and heavy vehicles (ADR 80/03) are essentially based upon Euro 5 standards, with vehicles meeting equivalent US or Japanese standards also accepted.

This month, the minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government, Catherine King, announced a new ADR 80/04 standard based on Euro 6 (Stage C) requirements to be implemented for approved heavy vehicle models from November 1, 2024, and existing heavy vehicle models still being supply to the Australian market a year later.

As with ADR 80/03, equivalent US or Japanese standards will also be accepted.

Ms King said that during previous consultation, stakeholders informed the government that improved fuel quality standards are needed before Euro 6 can be implemented for light vehicles.

To support the introduction of Euro 6-based standards, the federal government recently implemented amendments to reduce maximum sulphur levels permitted in petrol sold in Australia.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts is working closely with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water, which regulates fuel quality standard, to consider whether further improvements to aromatics in petroleum fuel are needed to enable the introduction of Euro 6 equivalent standards for light vehicles.

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